Kinetic Sculpture : Introduction

Our first disciplinary course, Kinetic Sculpture, is one of the most interesting course I have come across. The course syllabus has been an amalgamation of engineering, fine arts, design and philosophy. For people with non-mechanical engineering background, especially people from design and fine arts background, the challenge was to understand the mechanics of moving sculptures. The deciphering of complex motion into simple ones requires the knowledge of basic mechanism. The week also introduces us to the concept of rapid prototyping which means translating paper ideas into physical forms in the most crudest form.

Our task for the first week was to choose a modern day equipment and analyse its motions and mechanism involved. We were to make a working prototype of the same as well. We chose the hand driven sewing machine. Modern day sewing machines are a combination of multiple complex motions working simultaneously. These motions are visible in the rotary motion of the input crank, the up-down motion of the needle and motion of the bobin pin. In mechanical engineering terms these are basically the crank-rocker mechanism, the crank-slide mechanicsm and the crank-shaft mechanism. Among other popular mechanisms are the 4-bar mechanisms which was picked up by the team who chose windshield-wipers.

Below are the schemas, plan sheets and video of a working model:


Sewing machine 3D model
Perspective view
3ds max application

MDF 1cm thick, 6mm rods, PVC 5mm rod
cir-clip, wires, nails 

Read more:
Videos of various mechanisms:
Book to read: Making things Move